The city of Cleveland is set to host an event that will, among other things, help criminals dump guns used in crimes, thus making it more difficult for police to get convictions. Oh, they don’t advertise it as that. Not by any stretch of the imagination, but that’s what it is.

Instead, they call it a gun buyback program.

Cleveland’s 2018 Gun Buyback will be held October 20. People can exchange their working guns for a gift card for either gas or food, valued at $100 (for handguns) or $200 (for semi-automatic weapons).

“The City of Cleveland is facing the same challenges as most major metropolitan areas with regard to gun violence,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “Cleveland’s Annual Gun Buy Back Program is an important step to getting guns off of our streets. I want to thank all of our residents who participate.”

“We hope that citizens will take part in this program and turn in unwanted firearms because in doing so, you could save a life,” said Chief of Police Calvin D. Williams. “We are fortunate once again to have the sponsorship provided by the Cleveland Police Foundation, ArcelorMittal, Dave’s Supermarkets, True North and Target. Without their backing, this would not be possible.”

The buyback, which takes place October 20, is just another example of well-intentioned people trying their best to end violence by blaming the tool rather than the tool using it.

Realistically, a gun sitting on a shelf isn’t a threat to anyone. I know, I’ve got an old H&R .32 revolver that my grandfather bought for my great aunt which became a family heirloom that I don’t think has been fired since the Mesozoic Era. During that time, it’s done nothing except collect dust and get cleaned every so often. Having gotten rid of it in a buyback wouldn’t actually do anything to make anyone safer.

That’s because I’m not inclined to use it on anyone except in self-defense.

What buybacks do, with their no-questions-asked policy, is allow criminals to dump incriminating evidence in a way that won’t link back to them. It makes it more difficult for police to gather evidence to put these criminals behind bars.

Oh, it’s not impossible, mind you. After all, crooks have been dumping guns for ages, and some still get locked up, but it does hinder law enforcement enough to at least be a consideration.

Further, these buybacks don’t address the guns that are the problem, and those are the ones in the hands of criminals who intend to use them to harm others. These are the people who have guns, have criminal intentions, and aren’t interested in dumping their firearms for whatever reason. They’re going to hold onto them and use them.

Additionally, with the buybacks offering well under market value for most of these weapons, they do little to entice those looking to sell guns to even consider taking advantage of the program unless there’s a political motivation at play. Those who want to get rid of their firearms are often more inclined to sell to someone else rather than a buyback, thus keeping those guns “on the streets.”

Now, I’ll say that I think those who run these buybacks are well-intentioned and I’m generally fine with them wasting their money on this kind of thing. It’s far better than trying to restrict my rights to gun ownership. But they’re still wasting their time.